18 July 2018

Zimbabwe: NBS Opens Branch for Pensioners

The National Building Society (NBS) has opened a branch at Harare's Social Security Centre to exclusively serve the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) pensioners during pay-out days, as part of efforts to reduce the monthly challenges they confront when accessing their payouts.

NBS is a building society wholly owned by NSSA.

The bank was launched on May 2016, with an initial capital of $25 million.

NBS managing director Mr Lameck Danga, says the Social Security Centre branch that opened its doors to pensioners on July 13, will offer services for five days each month.

Mr Danga said the opening of the branch is testament to NSSA's commitment to serving pensioners within the shortest possible time, adding that the pilot branch in Harare would be replicated across the country.

Already, an NBS team from the Chinhoyi Branch has started paying out pensioners from the NSSA sub-office.

Said Mr Danga: "NBS was specifically set up to provide financial solutions to those who contribute to NSSA and this includes pensioners, many of whom were pioneers of the social security scheme.

"We are therefore focused on ensuring that pensioners are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Ultimately, we encourage pensioners to subscribe to mobile money so that they can link their NBS accounts to their mobile wallets and eliminate the need to visit banking halls to withdraw cash on a monthly basis."

The provisional banking hall is proving to be a novel intervention as it allows pensioners an opportunity to be served without concerns over long queues and hustling with other customers.

On the day the branch opened its doors, pensioners were getting up to $100 - in US dollars and bond notes.

Last Friday when the branch opened, 2 500 pensioners were served while on Saturday, all customers in the queue were cleared by 0930hrs, well within the bank's trading hours.

Cash shortages have resulted in long queues at banking halls as depositors seek to access their money.

Government is promoting the use of plastic money, electronic transfers and mobile money transfers, to reduce pressure on hard notes.

By end of April this year, point of sale (POS) machines increased to 70 000 from 56 000 units by end of last year, representing a 20 percent jump.

The rise in POS machines prevalence is in tandem with aspirations of the financial inclusion strategy and addressing the shortages of paper money.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is targeting to roll-out 100 000 POS machines across the country by 2020 as it seeks to create a cash-lite society.

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